Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mark Heisler on the Clippers Future

Mark Heisler of the LA Times wrote about the Clippers' future on Tuesday. Click on the heading above for the full article (free registration required), but here are the crucial sentences:

Happily for them, they're not only profitable but cost-efficient, with the league's fifth lowest payroll. With Cassell signaling he'd take $5 million a season and Vlade Radmanovic looking as if he'll be OK with the veteran's exception of $5.5 million, they can give Chris Kaman an extension that doesn't kick in until 2007-08 and next season's payroll would go up only $4 million.

Throw in an extension at $6 million for Dunleavy, who makes $2.5 million, and their total cost goes up $7.5 million … about what they just made from six playoff dates.

He also touches briefly on the Maggette situation, mostly just wondering if Maggette is going to be happy coming off the bench.

I don't know where he's getting his salary numbers, but if he's right about Cassell and Radmanovic, this is the proverbial no-brainer. I'm not sure why Cassell would take a pay cut after the season he had, or why Radmanovic would be so willing to accept the mid-level exception when he turned down 6/$42M from the Sonics 12 months ago, but if it's true, so much the better. Actually, I'd offer Sam at least 2/$12M just for what he's done for the team.

As for Dunleavy, $6M per would make him the highest paid coach in the league not named Larry Brown or Phil Jackson (and they don't count). He might be worth it, but anyone who thinks Donald Sterling is going to more than double his salary and make him the highest paid mortal in the league is crazy. Greg Popovich makes $4M per - that seems reasonable, although I doubt we'll see that. Sterling's reputation of course would dictate that he'll exercise Dunleavy's option and play the season before committing more money to the coach. We'll see.